BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — The Broken Arrow Police Department is seeing an increase in calls involving fentanyl overdoses.
In 2021, Broken Arrow officers responded to 186 overdoses deploying Narcan 13 times.
They deployed Narcan nine times just between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.
“We had to deploy Narcan on overdose patients twice as many times during the month of December as all of the rest of the year combined,” said Broken Arrow Police Sgt. Eric Nester.
“It’s a life-saving drug,” said Broken Arrow Officer Chris Walker. “It immediately reduces the opioid effect when someone's overdosing."
Police say the way fentanyl is being distributed is part of the reason they’re seeing the increase. It’s showing up in pills, made to look like prescription medications that have the powerful drug inside.
Jeff Dismukes, with the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, says his agency is seeing the same problem.
“Overdose deaths are up in Oklahoma and fentanyl is one of the primary reasons for that,” Dismukes said.
Dismukes said fentanyl overdoses contributed to 124 deaths across the state in 2020. That number is significantly higher than 2019, which only saw 47 fentanyl-related deaths.
“Because this is so prevalent in so many different drugs people don’t know what they’re ingesting we want them to be able to test it and avoid that overdose,” he said.
Dismukes said they’re starting a program to make fentanyl test strips available. This will let people test and see if fentanyl is in whatever they're taking.
He said there has been some criticism that this encourages using illegal drugs, but he said it’s about keeping people alive.
“Give us one more opportunity to engage to save a life,” Dismukes said.
“Because we know if we can get people into the treatment and they can recover they can live healthy and happy lives. They can be active in the community. They can be contributing back to the growth of our state."
You can dial 211 to find addiction resources in your community. You can also visit okimready.org for help.
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